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Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa broke the news that the country’s flag carrier, TAP Air Portugal, will be launching flights to San Francisco next year. Costa was in Santa Clara, California, giving a speech to heads of Silicon Valley Bank, one of the world’s largest venture capital investors. “Lisbon will be the first city in Southern Europe to have a direct air link with San Francisco,” said Costa, according to Diario de Noticias, a daily newspaper published in Lisbon.
The airline was unable to provide a comment on this when we reached out to them for confirmation, but there is enough evidence to believe that this announcement is valid. David Neeleman, a new co-owner of TAP Air Portugal, and the founder and original CEO of JetBlue, hinted the new route in an interview on Tuesday. “We totally plan on flying to the West Coast. In the Bay Area there are a lot of Portuguese that live there, and a lot of traffic to the Azores in the summer time. There’s a lot of Portuguese, and we think it’s a great market for us,” he said. Maybe he’ll be willing to provide more information at Friday’s “Aviation Geek Meet-Up” in New York.
While route details haven’t been confirmed yet, we can expect this route to be operated by one of the new Airbus A330-900neo aircraft which the airline will begin taking delivery of soon. (We will publish a report from the delivery flight — look for it later this month!) Lisbon (LIS) to San Francisco (SFO) would be the longest route in the TAP network, at 5,700 miles.
This new service would be great news for West Coast-based flyers who would otherwise need to stop in the East Coast to get to Portugal. TAP Portugal — a Star Alliance airline, on which you can collect and spend United miles — is known for low fares for its great business class product, pretty decent award availability and a stopover program which allows medium and long-haul passengers to stay in Portugal for up to five days en route to their final destination at no additional airfare cost.
Featured image by BriYYZ via Wiki Commons.
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